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and it's over the debt ceiling. it's going to be a big battle, and i share every comment and every sentiment that senator graham said because that's the one where we have to find a way to make a deal. and the president is not going to make a deal by poking us in the eye and by charging one side against the other to try to have a win-win proposition. i never made a deal if it wasn't a win-win proposition. i always lost a deal when i made it a win-lose proposition. i'm at the table. i continue to negotiate. i want to make this one work, but let's work together, let's find common ground, and in the 12th hour and the 11th hour, let's do what's right for the american people. but i want to thank senator graham, senator corker and senator mccain for their remarks. i associate myself with them. senator mccain, i yield back to you. i yield to the senator from tennessee. mr. mccain: i yield. the presiding officer: the senator from tennessee. mr. corker: i thank the senator from arizona, south carolina and georgia for the comments that they have made. i have already addressed the
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issue of the speech. i want to talk about two -- and i agree with the comments that have been made by my colleagues here. i want to address the substance. we get caught up in terminology here and sometimes talk beyond each other. i don't know what most people are doing today, but the country almost came to a halt in august of 2011 as we negotiated some reductions in spending, $2.1 trillion worth. most people felt like that was not near enough. i know that everybody in this body has been contacted by fix the deck folks and others who think that we need to have a $4.5 trillion to $5 trillion deal that's done here. by the way, i agree 100% and had hoped that's what we were going to be doing during this month,
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so as the senator from south carolina said, we would have this behind us and we could focus on the tremendous potential this country has. we're not going to do that. but let me go back to august of 2011. we agreed to reduce spending by $2.1 trillion of the we implemented some and then we put something off to what's called the sequester, which is what we're -- i'm talking about for a moment here on the floor. is and thafloor. and that sequester was to kick in on january the 1st of this year, tomorrow, in the event we didn't reach agreement on other spending reductions. and i had hoped we would come up with other spending reductions. my friend, the presiding officer, had hoped the same. but we haven't. here's the substance of what the president just said in his speech and that is that since we did not come up with an agreement on spending reductions, we're going to deal with the sequester that kicks in
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tomorrow, the $1.2 trillion -- the presiding officer: if i could ask the senator -- a senator: if i could ask the senator to yield for just a moment. mr. president, i ask unanimous consent the period for morning business for debate only be extended until 5:00 p.m. with senators permitted to speak up to ten minutes each. the presiding officer: is there objection? without objection. a senator: i thank the senator. mr. corker: thank you. i see the senator from kentucky who i think most people would rather listen to that be myself so i'm going to yield the floor for a moment as he makes his comments and may come back to the podium. mr. mcconnell: mr. president, are we in a quorum call? the presiding officer: the
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senate is not in a quorum call. the senator from tennessee has yielded the floor. mr. mcconnell: mr. president, yesterday, after days of inaction, i came to the floor and noted the obvious, which is that we need to act. but that i needed a dance partner. so i reached out to the vice president in an effort to get things done. and i'm happy to report that the effort has been a successful one and, as the president just said in his television appearance, we're very, very close to an agreement. we need to protect american families and job creators from this looming tax hike. everyone agrees that that action is necessary. and i can report that we've reached an agreement on all of the tax -- the tax -- issues. we are very, very close, as the president just said. the most important piece, the
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piece that has to be done now, is preventing the tax hikes. the president said -- quote -- "for now, our most immediate priority is to stop taxes going up for middle-class families starting tomorrow." i agree. he suggested that action on the sequester is something we can continue to work on in the coming months. so i agree. let's pass the tax relief portion now, let's take what's been agreed to and get moving. let me say, this was not easy to get to. i mean, the vice president and i last spoke about -- yesterday about 12:45 this morning and then again at 6:30 this morning and then multiple times this morning. this has been clearly a -- a good-faith negotiation. we all want to protect taxpayers and we can get it done now.
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right now. so let me be clear, we'll continue to work on finding smarter ways to cut spending, but let's not let that hold up protecting americans from the tax hike that will take place in about ten hours. ten hours from now. we can do this. we must do this. i want my colleagues to know that we'll keep everybody updated as we continue to try to wrap this up. i yield the floor. mr. corker: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from tennessee. mr. corker: i think it's appropriate what the senator just said and i thank him for his comments. which leads me again to what i now see is the rub and what the president just alluded to a minute ago in his comments, and that is that the tax arrangements have been all agreed to and the thing that most americans care about have been agreed to.
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and now what's happened this morning, in a late request this morning, is now the president wants to do away with the sequester, the $1.2 trillion in cuts, by paying for them with revenues instead of trading out other cuts, which is unbelievable to me. it is unbelievable to me, with the amount of debt that we have in this nation, the fact that we've agreed to additional revenues and now at the last minute what's happened is, with the sequester getting ready to kick in because we couldn't agree to other revenue cuts, what's happened -- other revenue cuts, by the way, not as part of this deal but to subpoen supplat we did back in august of 2011. we all know the sequester's kicking in. and because for some reason people think it's being done in
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the wrong way and should be done a different way, which i actually agree and hope we'll do, now the president, instead of reducing that spending, what he wants to do is add revenues to that to keep that from happening. now, what that means to -- let me just explain what that means. we have this tax increase that's getting ready to happen that, by the way, i would support, but we're going to use those revenues, instead of reducing the deficit like the president campaigned on, what he wants to do is use those revenues to supplant spending reductions we've already agreed to. so you're not reducing the deficit. you're using new revenues, this revenue that's been campaigned on now for a year is being used not to reduce deficits but to keep spending cuts that have already been agreed to from happening. now, i don't know. i don't think there are many people on either side of the aisle that would think that is a very good idea.
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and so now what the president is doing is holding hostage -- holding hostage -- this agreement on taxes for all americans, he's holding that hostage to sort of pay for these -- to keep from doing the spending reductions that we've already agreed to. i don't know if most american americans -- i know they listen to us. i don't know if they quite yet understand what's happening. but i hope that's the case. mr. president, i'm going to just be -- say a couple more things. i -- i listened to the president yesterday on david gregory "meet the press," and i know he talked about the $1 trillion in spending reductions that he's offered up. which, by the way, i applaud. the problem is, i've never seen them. i don't think the presiding officer has ever seen them. as a matter of fact, there's not a soul in this body that has ever seen the spending reductions that the president has offered up. because they don't exist. now, i know that there was some broad contours that were talked
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about. i know that some of the people in this body know that lamar alexander and myself offered last week on the floor a bill to raise the debt ceiling so that we don't end up in a situation where the credit of our country is in jeopardy, but to raise the debt ceiling by having $1 trillion in entitlement reforms. by the way, people today paying one-third of the cost of medicare in this country. one-third. 20 million or more americans are going to be on medicare over the next ten years and we're paying for one-third of that. it's a time bomb. and so we've offered reforms to cause medicare to be here for future generations. and we've done that in advance so the debt ceiling is raised in a way that doesn't jeopardize the country's credit and at the same time we reform these programs so they'll be here for the future. but the president said yesterday on television is that he's offered $1 trillion in cuts.
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i've never seen them. but what i would say to the presiding officer is, if they exist, it will be really helpful if we could see those because that would really help us with this debt ceiling debate. it may be that some of those are similar to the reforms and the reductions that -- that senator alexander from tennessee offered with me. that would be highly helpful. so what i would encourage is that once the pep rallies are over is that maybe the president send up to us a list of those reductions and reforms that he says he's offered that no one that i know of has ever seen, because i think it would be helpful to us in the debt ceiling debate. as a matter of fact, we probably would agree with -- my guess is we might agree with a lot of those. and what we could do is maybe take the president's reduction as that he says he's offered that he's never offered and we could use those to help raise the debt ceiling and really
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alleviate some of the issues that my friend from south carolina was mentioning a minute ago. so, mr. presiding officer, my friend, i will tell you that i'm disappointed where we are today. i thought we would end up two years after we began this process with something that would cause us to -- to have this viewed from the rear-view mirror. in other words, this was behind us and we would begin 2013 in a situation where the economy was ready to take off and people in this country knew that we had dealt with our issues. and, candidly, people had known the same. we haven't done that. regard the of what we do today, by the way, we're talking about a kick-the-can-down-the-road deal. everybody knows that. everybody on this body knows we've done nothing -- nothing -- by the time this agreement takes place, to reduce a penny of debt in this country. people know that. and that's a shame. and so here we are, the american
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people are watching us, we've turned ourselves into a laughingstock of the world because we can't sit down and just solve these problems. candidly, i don't know why we're not doing this on the senate floor. it's been empty for the last week. i really think we could have passed a bill out of here over the last week that dealt with this. and candidly, i think most people on both sides of the aisle think the same. we haven't done it. surely, we should not let this happen again. but i just want to close by saying that -- that i'm disappointed. i'm disappointed with what i think is getting ready to happen on the sequester, where it looks like we're going to use revenues to substitute for spending reductions that have already been agreed to. and what that means to the american people is that the tax on the wealthy, which i support in the form that i've understood it to be -- i support it -- that money is going to be used not to
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reduce our deficit but to keep from putting in place the spending reductions that we've already agreed to. i don't know many democrats or republicans that would think that's a particularly good idea, especially with everything that we went through in august of 2011, everything we put the world through in august of 2011. much of that is going to be dissipated today, watered down. we're not only going to be not making progress if that happens. we're actually going to be setting ourselves and our country back and i think making it even more difficult to overcome the debt ceiling that's coming up in 75 days. so with that, i yield the floor. i'm obviously making this speech to help i hope influence the outcome over the next couple of hours. i hope that what the president said over the executive office
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building is -- over at the executive office building is not what he means. i doubt there are many people in this body that agree with the comments made by the president. and i hope the negotiators will take that into account. thank you, mr. president. i yield the floor. and on my way out i notice the be aens of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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Book TV
CSPAN December 31, 2012 2:45pm-3:30pm EST

Sally Bedell Smith Education. (2012) The 2012 National Book Festival Sally Bedell Smith, 'Elizabeth the Queen The Life of a Modern Monarch.'

TOPIC FREQUENCY Us 9, Tennessee 3, Mr. Mcconnell 2, Graham 2, Mccain 2, South Carolina 2, Lamar Alexander 1, Mr. Mccain 1, Thafloor 1, Alexander 1, David Gregory 1, Georgia 1, Kentucky 1, Arizona 1, Carolina 1
Network CSPAN
Duration 00:45:00
Scanned in San Francisco, CA, USA
Source Comcast Cable
Tuner Channel 91 (627 MHz)
Video Codec mpeg2video
Audio Cocec ac3
Pixel width 704
Pixel height 480
Sponsor Internet Archive
Audio/Visual sound, color

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